New carers bank cards to be introduced following charity campaign


Carers supporting people with physical and mental health conditions will soon have access to ‘carers cards’, allowing them to support with shopping and bills without putting themselves or those they care for at risk by sharing PIN numbers or online banking login details.

Coinciding with Carers Week, the Telegraph reports today that Barclays will introduce the cards following campaigning by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. The charity’s research revealed earlier this year that half of carers say they know someone else’s bank PIN number, as a lack of support by the banks leaves them using risky workarounds to help those for whom they care.

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s research found:

  • 32% of people, and 52% of carers for someone with a mental health problem, know someone else’s PIN number
  • 13% of people, and 27% of carers for someone with a mental health problem, have used someone else’s contactless card
  • 15% people, and 23% of carers for someone with a mental health problem, know someone else’s online banking passwords

The Telegraph reports today that Barclays plan to launch the cards by next year, which will allow carers to use cards in certain shops, and with spending constrained to particular spending categories.

There are almost seven million unpaid carers in the UK and nearly a million (880,000) people care for someone with a mental health problem. Almost half of all carers help with paperwork and financial matters. For many people this support can make the difference between just managing, and a life in financial difficulty. Yet in the current system banks don’t facilitate safe, controlled ways for carers to provide support – leaving many taking significant risks.


Responding to the announcement, Polly Mackenzie, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:
“Our research highlighted the urgent need for safe, practical tools to support carers and those with mental health problems to manage money without putting themselves at risk. We are delighted that Barclays have listened, and hope that other banks and credit providers will follow their lead, recognising that shared financial management is a part of many of our lives. We cannot keep turning a blind eye to the harm that’s being caused by the failure of most banks to provide services that allow us to do this.”




Contact: Helen Undy, 07827917829, [email protected] for all media enquiries including interviews with spokespeople.


Notes to Editors

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It will conduct research and develop policies for banks, lenders, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
  • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in- Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.
  • Polly Mackenzie is the Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. She was previously Director of Policy for the Deputy Prime Minister, working in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office, from 2010-2015.
  • The figures above are drawn from a nationally representative omnibus survey of 2053 Britons carried out by Populus on behalf of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute between 4 November 2016 and 6 November 2016. In order to estimate the wider use of the workarounds identified among the general public the responses from the omnibus survey were combined with the Office for National Statistics’ estimate of the mid-2015 population of over-18s in the United Kingdom.